Primal Movements - Bending/Hip Hinging

Primal movements are basic and natural human movements we learn as babies that help our bodies gain strength, flexibility, motor skills and through correct movement, repair and prevent injury. 

There are 7 Primal Movement Patterns:

  1. Bend
  2. Squat
  3. Lunge
  4. Push
  5. Pull
  6. Twist
  7. Gait

And each movement forms the fundamentals of almost every compound exercise you will see at the gym. The term primal relates to the early development of humans where we'd hunt and gather for food and shelter. There were no gyms, the resistance for these primal movements came in the form of our surroundings (instead of dumbbells, we used rocks to push, pull, squat, etc.) where we'd develop strength and flexibility through these movement patterns.

Nowadays, we spend most of our time sitting in front of a computer in a sedentary state, which can really inhibit our movement by developing weaknesses (posterior) and tightness (anterior). Going back to the basics can be the best thing for your work out regime as well as general health and well being in the long run! By re-training these movements we acquired as babies, you can prevent your body from injuries, leading to a more efficient and pain free life down the track. Correct movement also correlates to better performances in strength, speed, power, agility and flexibility.

This blog will be focusing on the Bending movement pattern, which has immense real world transfer and the associated exercises are highly functional in carrying out daily activities. The bend or hip hinge pattern relates to how we bend our torso by hinging our hips, e.g. picking a baby off the ground. This movement is possibly the most common cause of injury when performed incorrectly, e.g. picking up a heavy object with straight legs and a rounded back. 

The key to bending and lifting an object up safely is by distributing majority of the weight through our hips, glutes and legs whilst keeping your spine neutral (avoid rounding the back). Teaching yourself to efficiently hinge at the hips whilst bending can prevent serious back injury, reduce lower back pain and strengthen your glute and hamstring complex. As stated before, most people who work at a desk will have a weak posterior chain (shoulder stabilisers, back, glutes, hamstrings) and a tight anterior chain (neck, shoulders, chest, hips). By getting strong through the hip hinge, you will have a stable posterior, allowing for a mobile anterior and more efficient movement.

Exercises that utilise the bend/hip hinge movement include the:

  • Glute Bridge
  • Deadlift
  • Hip Thrust

If you'd like to know more about hip hinge exercises or movement patterns in general, feel free to ask the team at CFC!

Ben McGregor